Recently made Tonkatsu at home. This is my mom’s, my brother’s and my favorite dish. This was actually my brother’s signature dish. We were so impressed that time when he cooked this for us, that was already many years ago. My mom rarely deep fries at home, we usually go out to eat deep fry food, less hassle and too convenient in Hong Kong. For Tonkatsu, there are even specialized Japanese restaurants just for this speciality so we never bothered make it ourselves.
I looked into my kitchen, doing stock taking and trying to finish some older stuff. Found a packet of Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko) half opened, it immediately made me craving for a Tonkatsu, breaded deep-fried pork, a typical Japanese dish . All I need is just to go out and buy some fresh and good quality pork cutlet (loin). To me, Tonkatsu is very similar to the Wiener Schnitzel (thin sliced of veal or pork cutlets are usually used) here in Switzerland. However, I find Schnitzels are made too thin and the breadcrumbs (Paniermehl) used are too fine unlike the panko which are bigger and more crunchy as results. It’s a matter of personal taste afterall. I am a big Japanese food fan so you may think I am bias but the Tonkatsu is usually more juicy, less salty and oily than the Schnitzel, I think mainly because the pork used in tonkatsu is thicker and the meat juice is able to seal inside the breadcrumbs.
- 2 pieces of fresh good quality Pork cutlet or loin (without bone) about 1~2 cm thick. Trim off the excess fat if necessary.
- salt and white pepper
- 6 tbsp flour
- 1 large egg, beatened
- 1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- fresh vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 1/2 Cabbage, finely shredded
- Fresh tomatoes, cut into pieces
- Lemon wedges
- Tonkatsu sauce (it’s a brown thick sauce looks like worchestershire sauce), you can make it yourself too if you cannot find the ready made one, here is one of the recipes I found
- Karashi, Japanese Yellow mustard (you can use French or English mustard, perfectly fine!)
- Soak the shredded cabbage in a large bowl of water for over an hour and drain to dry. This will help to minimize the strong cabbage smell.
- Using the back of the knife (I used chinese cleaver as it’s heavy enough, do not use the cut side of the knife, I did this before and result was not as good) or meat tenderizer, pound on both sides of the pork briefly both horizontally and vertically, this is to make the pork more tender after cooked. The pork cutlet will be thinner after this process which is normal.
- Season both sides of the pork cutlet briefly with salt and pepper.
- Using 3 boxes or shallow bowls, place the flour, beaten egg and panko (breadcrumbs) in each one accordingly. Line them up in a straight line in the right order (1. flour; 2. egg; 3.panko) so you do not need to think in the next steps.
- Heat up the deep frying oil in a wok or any frying pan. Test the oil if it is hot enough by dropping a few panko to see if they can fry properly, there should be a lot of bubbles coming up instantly when the panko is in the oil.
- Dust the pork both sides with flour, then dip in the beaten egg and lay the pork on the breadcrumbs one side after the other and pat gently to ensure as much breadcrumbs are sticked on the pork.
- Immediately gently place the breaded pork in the hot oil, fry it one by one, only if your wok/ pan is large enough then fry 2 pieces at a time. Fry for a few minutes until they turn golden yellow, carefully turn the pork to the other side and few for a few more minutes.
- When cooked, removed the pork cutlet from the oil and place on a plate placed with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and let it cool down a bit before cutting.
- In the meantime, quickly arrange the shredded cabbage, tomatoes and lemon wedges on the serving plates.
- Place the pork on a clean cutting board, tilt the knife and cut from an angle about 30-40 degrees into longitudinal pieces and place them in front of the cabbage.
- Serve immediately with Tonkatsu sauce and mustard as dipping sauce and of course with steamed rice. Drizzle some lemon juice on the Tonkatsu before eating.
- Personally, my hubby and I found despite the cabbage has been drained in water for a long time, we still do not like eating the cabbage. But it looks less authentic if serving without the cabbage. Next time we will prepare a separate green salad as a side dish.
- You can make your homemade Tonkatsu sauce if you cannot get hold the ready made one in your surrounding. Search online, there are several versions, since I still have my bottle at home, I did not make it from scratch.
- You can serve your Tonkatsu with Japanese curry sauce and rice or make a sandwich which is me and my mom’s favorite afternoon tea treat : )